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Buyer's Guide

by Gaby Loria,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 25, 2017

What Is Allergy EMR Software?

Leading immunology electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) systems will provide allergy-relevant clinical information that plugs directly into the immunology workflow. For example, immunologists often require the patient to wait on-site between injection and results screening. This is unique to immunology practices, and should be taken into account when selecting an EMR.

Other features to consider include treatment planning, pulmonary function tests, laboratory results, prescriptions, educational handouts, patient assessment forms, immunizations, workmen's compensation screens and antigen profiles.

Specific features of a quality allergy and immunology EMR software solution include:

Allergy & immunotherapy SOAP notes templates Most EMRs have SOAP notes templates specific to each of the hundreds of situations an immunologist must address on a regular basis, including: allergic rhinitis, anaphylaxis, angioedema, asthma, COPD, eczema, food allergy, immune deficiency, urticaria, allergy shots, drug allergy, hay fever, insect sting allergy, itching, pollen allergy, post nasal drip, rash, swollen lymph glands and more.
Vaccine coverage & history Knowledge of vaccine history is an important part of an immunology practice. Many immunology-specific EMRs have a specific vaccine module that identifies current vaccine status, past immunizations and vaccines due.
Pre and post-injection questionnaires Survey patients before and after injections, and have those surveys tied directly and permanently to the patient record, making it easier to track and assess long-term results.
Laboratory results integration Immunologists constantly test their patients for allergens, immunodeficiencies, drug presence and more. Having a system that automatically imports this data from the laboratory and ties it into the patient record maximizes the efficiency of the practice.
Allergy testing & treatment protocols The workflow facilitating allergy testing and treatment protocols, making patient interactions more efficient and reducing the risk of errors or unnecessary activities.
Progress tracking Storing immunodeficiency, immunomodulation, organ inflammation, allergen testing and other results allows the physician to track and chart long-term progress of an immunotherapy patient, facilitating decision-making and evolution of treatment over time.
Immunology coding and reporting With ICD-9, CPT, PQRI and other billing and incentive reports, having an EMR that facilitates this process can save thousands of man-hours and maximize returns.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Shopping for an immunology EMR solution can be quite challenging, especially when you’re doing well in your medical service but lack relevant expertise in software trends. When looking at the wide range of EMR solutions on the market, shortlisting even a few good ones requires a lot of research and effort. As a result, it’s important to list your key requirements before you begin to search for the ideal EMR solution.

The key to finding the right solution is to first identify what kind of a buyer you are. To do this, you need to determine your business size and primary needs. Here are some of the buyer types we’ve identified:

  1. Solo practitioners: If you are a medical professional running an independent facility and are looking for software that performs basic clinical operations like appointment scheduling, patient medical recording and generating prescriptions, you should consider going for the basic version of any EMR software. This helps solo practitioners transition from traditional pen-and-paper-based recording to a digital medical recording system.

    Try checking out vendors such as Care360, Mercury Medical and MedWorxs Evolution, all of whom cater to buyers in this category.
  3. Independent clinics and hospitals: If you're a small or midsize hospital/clinic with less than 50 medical professionals, you should consider going for advanced EMR solutions. Besides assisting in managing basic clinical operations, like generating medical records, managing charts, tracking and scheduling appointments and e-prescribing patients, these solutions offer advanced features that include doctor and patient portals, certification management, automatic reminders, mobile access, multi-channel communication and voice dictation. Such solutions also allow users to electronically share a patient’s prescription with the nearest pharmacy or store recommended by the patient.

    Some EMR solutions also offer the capability to track a patient’s check-in and check-out times. A few vendors who offer this kind of solution are HealthFusion MediTouch, NueMD, eClinicalWorks and Dr. Chrono.
  5. Large hospitals or multi-chain hospitals: If you run a multi-chain hospital that operates in different locations worldwide, you can go for premium EMR solutions. In addition to the above set of features, these solutions offer tools like mobile apps, compliance and audit management tools, extensive reporting tools, Meaningful Use support, third-party application integrations and insurance management.

    Some vendors who offer these solutions are GE Centricity and CureMD.

Market Trends to Understand

EMR solutions are moving to the cloud: An increasing number of EMR software vendors are taking their software to the cloud. This not only helps service providers offer their services at a cheaper cost compared with their on-premise offering, but also benefits the end users by giving them access to records via any internet-enabled device, including smartphones, from anywhere and at any time. It's also easier to release software updates remotely when the solution is hosted in a secure cloud and has adequate data backup capability.

EMR solutions are becoming mobile friendly: Mobile devices and dedicated EMR mobile apps are transforming many aspects of clinical practices for healthcare professionals. Medical practitioners can streamline most of their clinical activities, such as medical recording, patient history management, time management and prescription sharing. Even patients can schedule appointments with their doctors, pay their medical bills, track their medical history and receive e-prescriptions directly on their smartphones.

In our recent survey, mobile users reported higher levels of satisfaction and fewer challenges with their EHR/EMR than non-mobile users.

Integrated suites are better than standalone solutions: Health care professionals are always looking for EMR solutions that can easily integrate with their other medical services, such as EHR, practice management and medical billing. This helps them assimilate data between multiple applications easily and avoid data duplication across various applications. Even medical software vendors prefer selling their medical service suite comprising of EHR, EMR, PM and medical billing solution instead of offering individual standalone products.

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